The Packers' starting offensive line will have its fifth different look this season with left guard Daryn Colledge shifting over to right tackle, Josh Sitton moving into the starting lineup at right guard, and guard Jason Spitz sliding over to the left side.
Tony Moll, who started the last two games at right tackle in place of an injured Mark Tauscher, will shift to a backup role. Head Coach Mike McCarthy informed the players of the changes on Wednesday morning, and emphasized that the decision was made to give the team the best chance to beat the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
"If you watch the way we rep those guys, we have probably too many revolving chairs in the offensive line and that is something we can talk about it in the offseason," McCarthy said. "It is a rotation that we have worked. It's a rotation, if you go back to the preseason, Josh Sitton was the starting guard when we started the season. That potential, that possibility has always been there since he has been healthy."
Sitton started the first three games of the preseason at right guard before spraining his knee in the first quarter at Denver on Aug. 22. He missed the opening three regular-season games with the injury, but has played in 10 games this season, primarily on special teams. Sitton did get a start at Tennessee in Week 9 when left tackle Chad Clifton missed the game due to an illness. Colledge took over that game at left tackle with Spitz shifting to left guard.
"You always want to play," Sitton said. "We're all competitors out here. When an opportunity comes, you've just got to take the most out of it."
For Colledge, it will be his first career start at right tackle, although he did see time there in the 2007 regular-season finale vs. Detroit and also last season in Week 10 vs. Minnesota. He does have experience at tackle as he has filled in for Clifton on the left side throughout his three seasons in the league, most recently two weeks ago at Jacksonville when Clifton left the game in the fourth quarter with injured thumbs.
"It's just fundamental differences (switching to the right side)," said Colledge, who will work exclusively at right tackle in practice this week. "Obviously changing your feet around and having to punch a guy different. The plays are the same, they are just in reverse. There is going to be a little more thinking involved for a guy like me, but I feel like I am smart enough.
"I know the system from both sides, so for me it's just going to be a long week of technical work. I've got a road ahead of me, but I've got a nice challenge and that's always exciting."
In the two games since Tauscher suffered a season-ending knee injury vs. Houston, the Packers have not had the kind of production they are looking for from their running game. Against Jacksonville and Chicago, the offense gained just 149 yards combined on 57 carries for a 2.6 average. Running back Ryan Grant's 12-yard run in the second quarter at Chicago on Monday night was the Packers' only gain of 10-plus yards on the ground the last two weeks.
"If this is what the coaches need and this is what has to be done, I'm excited," Colledge said. "This is like having to play left tackle just before the game. You're excited for an opportunity because you know there are going to be a bunch of people out there that are wondering if you can get it done and you get to go out and prove yourself.
"That's the great thing about football. Every week you get to try and prove yourself, and this week I get a special opportunity to go out and prove my versatility and have a great end to my season."
Rouse to start again
McCarthy said Aaron Rouse, who started at strong safety on Monday night at Chicago, will continue in that role Sunday against Detroit.
Cornerback Charles Wodson, who had moved over to start at strong safety the previous three games, was back at his customary left cornerback spot against the Bears and posted his sixth interception of the season.
Rouse, who started four games earlier this season in place of an injured Atari Bigby, tied for the team lead with seven tackles on Monday night, including a stop for a loss. Rouse did get flagged for a horse-collar tackle on tight end Greg Olsen on the first play of overtime that put the Bears at Green Bay's 35 after Olsen picked up 17 yards on the catch.
"There are some things that he needs to correct," McCarthy said. "He wasn't as clean on some of his angles, and particularly some of the spacing things. I thought he was productive. Just made some young guy mistakes frankly."
Tackle Breno Giacomini (ankle) is out for Sunday.
Wide receiver Donald Driver (knee) and cornerback Al Harris (illness) did not participate in Wednesday's practice, but Driver said he would play against Detroit.
Running back Brandon Jackson (wrist), wide receiver Greg Jennings (concussion), cornerback Joe Porter (concussion), Spitz (knee) and cornerback Charles Woodson (toe) were all limited.
Clifton (knees), fullback Korey Hall (knee), defensive tackle Justin Harrell (hip), linebacker Spencer Havner (ankle), defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (ankle) and Rouse (ankle) all participated fully on Wednesday.
For Detroit, quarterback Daunte Culpepper (shoulder), defensive tackle Chuck Darby (calf), cornerback Travis Fisher (concussion), defensive end Corey Smith (hamstring) and defensive end Dewayne White (calf) did not participate.
Wide receiver Calvin Johnson (knee), linebacker Ernie Sims (knee) and running back Kevin Smith (ankle) were limited on Wednesday.